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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting to the Core of the Gingerbread Man and a Freebie... Run As Fast As You Can!

Our kindergarten classroom has been so busy with gingerbread learning and making our parent gifts. On top of that, we have report card conferences this week too. The children have been working on making their frames using pasta I dyed myself and added glitter to. It was a giant hit with my students. They took their gift making project seriously and did a beautiful job. We hole punched the top and tied a matching pipe cleaner across both sides so it could be hung up! They turned out so beautifully! The kids are thrilled.

Now what is going in the frame? Hold on to your hat. Remember I live in Southern California. My partner and I dressed each child in a hat and scarf and put a snow scene into Power Point and made it a background. The pictures are fabulous and my students look like they are standing in the snow. I LOVE HOW THESE TURNED OUT BUT IT TOOK FOREVER TO DO. I have twins and took their picture individually and together... They look precious all bundled up.

This was my version of  a "write the room" activity I taught students in small group. I wanted to be sure they could do this effectively. For the students who needed more support, I modeled how to make each letter for the beginning sound and they were much more successful. My top group did this more independently and I just put all the cards on another table for them to walk over and get. They loved it. At the bottom of the page I had them draw their favorite character, in a setting. It keep the early finishers engaged and they had so much fun doing it. 
We have been reading stories and comparing and contrasting them (yup I am on my Common Core game) and the kids cannot get enough of that bad guy... "the fox". So I made some games to reinforce the concepts we are working on but I used all GBM images. They loved me for this! I also had them do a ton of collaborative and partner work, practicing oral language and academic vocabulary. They did such a great job with this.

Students had a great time with this sight word game and helped each other with them. They placed them into a graph to record their work. This provides some accountability. Each child used a different colored marker and you could feel the enthusiasm around the room. They were so engaged in their work and I actually let them talk to each other! Woohoo!

This is an emergent reader I made several years ago that has the children practice writing numbers and reading some simple repetitive text. They had to draw the buttons on each gingerbread man that matched the number and it was a great way to access their number sense. If you want a copy of this you can grab this right here. Leave a comment and let me know if you liked it! 
The gingerbread play dough was a giant hit this year. I let them use this with ten frame mats I made and it was a great independent center. Try it and I bet your students will love it too! I'm going to add gingerbread cookie cutters this week.
Here students worked together to do a syllable sort using gingerbread pictures. We went over these pictures before I released them and they felt so successful doing this with their teams. The team captain (strong academic student) helped to guide them and those that needed more support got it from others in their group. I love the idea of students teaching each other.
We do a lot of guided drawing in my room so I loved using this Jan Brett video where she shows children how she draws the gingerbread baby. My students were so enthralled with this. It was great fun.
Our students love doing projects with their families and this time we sent home... you guessed it- the gingerbread man. They brought them back on Friday and were so proud of their work. They are so adorable and one family added music and lights to this! Oh my!
This is a flow map I created for my pocket chart. It is to retell the story and is a great performance based assessment to use in kindergarten. It connects directly to my little retelling reader that they use when making their bracelet. The focus is on the gingerbread man being the main character. 
Spinner games have been a big hit in my room this week so I created a variety of them so they can review important math and literacy skills. Students did these with a partner and I differentiated them depending on their needs. 
I would come back and share my activities for our special Gingerbread Activity Day but this is a good peek at the fun we are having. What are you doing in your room before winter break? I am trying to keep them busy and engaged in learning fun!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gingerbread Fun On the Run...

Our school does not celebrate Christmas. Yup, read that again. We have children from a variety of religious backgrounds and some do not celebrate this holiday. What do we do to make the last few weeks fun and packed with learning? I do a whole gingerbread unit that my students adore. There are so many books available now to buy that change up the characters, setting, and even the problem. Here are some that we are going to enjoy this week! See if you have them in your collection!

I have worked all weekend on making gingerbread play-dough for my classroom and this is my favorite recipe. It makes my kitchen smell yummy.
and it looks like this...

Try it. It only takes a few minutes and you just throw the ingredients in a pot and stir until it thickens. My students will love this!

Here is a "sneak peek" at one of my math stations for this week. My students need more practice writing numbers and working collaboratively so ...
These spinners will rock their world. I will be back with so many more ideas tonight! Gotta run as fast as I can.